The editors, David Albert Jones, of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford; Chris Gastmans, of the Faculty of Medicine at KU Leuven in Belgium; and Calum MacKellar, of the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, say that the volume is the first interdisciplinary study of Belgian euthanasia. The authors point out that
In a sense, Belgium is a special case, where there is very little opposition to the continuing expansion of eligibility for euthanasia and very little scepticism about how it is administered. In the United States, on the other hand, opponents are vocal and watchful where assisted suicide is legal. This proves to be a barrier to the inexorable bracket creep that Belgium is experiencing. However, the authors’ final advice is that:“Death by euthanasia in Belgium is, generally, no longer regarded as an exception requiring special justification. Instead, it is often regarded as a normal death and a benefit not to be restricted to without special justification.”
... the only secure way to avoid these consequences is to resist calls to legalise euthanasia or assisted suicide and instead invest in palliative care as well as research into end-of-life practices while re-emphasising the preciousness of human life.”
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Coincidentally, the doyen of euthanasia there, Dr Wim Distelmans, has just released statistics about child euthanasia. “Nothing to see here; please move along,” seems to be his message. In three years, only two children have been euthanised. Perhaps that is an index of how normal euthanasia has become in his country.
Assisted dying is a hot topic, too, in Australia, in the states of Victoria and New South Wales. BioEdge has organised a free forum on NSW’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill on this coming Thursday in Sydney. It will be held at Parliament House, on Macquarie Street, from 9.30am to 12.30pm. A number of medical and legal experts will be discussing the possibility of legal euthanasia in New South Wales. For more details, please check our Facebook page.
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